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KUCHING, Oct 14: Sarawak Energy and the Ministry of Utilities Sarawak uncovered the largest electricity theft involving cryptocurrency mining in Sarawak to date, in an unoccupied factory at Demak Laut, Kuching in an operation held this month.
The operation, triggered by public tip-offs, led to the discovery of more than 1,200 cryptocurrency mining servers worth approximately RM1.74 million, computer accessories and internet modems in the factory.
Onsite inspections by Sarawak Energy’s technical team also led to the discovery of direct tapping cables illegally connected to an electrical distribution system which were installed by the operator.
It was also found that the operator stole electricity by connecting to a nearby high voltage substation. The electricity used was not registered by the electricity meter.
It is estimated that Sarawak Energy has incurred losses of more than RM300,000 per month in unregistered electricity consumption over the course of the cryptocurrency mining operations. All of the cryptocurrency mining servers and accessories were seized, and the illegal direct tapping cables were dismantled as evidence of electricity theft.
A police report was lodged for further investigation.
The operator will be charged for stealing electricity under Section 33(5) of the Electricity Ordinance, which carries a penalty of up to RM100,000 and/or five years jail if found guilty.
Cryptocurrency mining activities run 24-hours a day and require a large amount of electricity to power their operations. When electrical connections are tampered with and electricity supply is directly tapped from the source to bypass meter readings, the electrical network system is overloaded leading to unnecessary outages or low voltages that could damage appliances and affect nearby customers.
Aside from the unsafe wiring connections, the illegally installed electrical distribution system by the operator did not meet the electricity industry and SESCO’s safety standards. This is dangerous as it poses fire and electrocution risks.
Sarawak Energy will continue to remind the public of the dangers of electricity theft, and warns individuals not to disregard any safety risks to themselves and the public for the sake of making a quick profit.
Together with the Ministry of Utilities Sarawak and the Police, Sarawak Energy will continue to search and track down cryptocurrency mining operators that steal electricity to maximise their profits at the expense of public safety.
Stealing electricity is a dangerous crime. Customers are advised not to trust service providers claiming to be able to reduce electricity bills or allow premises owners to enjoy limitless electricity through meter tampering. Meter inspection teams are trained to detect various electricity theft methods as part of Sarawak Energy’s efforts to curb power theft.
Members of the public are strongly encouraged to report any suspected cryptocurrency mining activities in their neighbourhood or abandoned buildings to Sarawak Energy’s customer care centre at 1300-88-3111 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. All information received will be kept strictly confidential. — DayakDaily